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President Donald Trump’s draconian family separation immigration policy has prompted some South Bay leaders to cut ties with the Republican Party.


San Jose Councilmembers Dev Davis and Johnny Khamis as well as former Assemblyman Jim Cunneen announced their departure on Monday, saying they plan to re-register under “no party preference.”


Davis and Khamis cited the president’s separation policy as one that went way beyond the bounds of Republican values. Khamis, who fled Lebanon as a child when the country was in war, called it “the last straw” in a string of controversial actions by Trump.


“I am not leaving the party, the Republican party has left me,” he told reporters.


Davis, too, said that after Trump began removing kids from their families, she “could no longer wait for national Republican leaders to speak up.”


“The Republican Party I joined recognized the importance of families,” Davis said. “I still hold those values, but the Republican Party no longer does.”


“This is Trumpism,” added Cunneen who went on to say that his disapproval also extended to the Trump tax cuts, trade tariffs and foreign policy missteps.


The decision by Khamis and Davis to renounce their party affiliation brings the number of Republicans on the San Jose council from three—the most since the city began doing district elections in 1980—to just one, Councilman Lan Diep.


The council members’ outrage reflected the reaction of numerous other local leaders.

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group, which represents 360 companies, wrote a letter to Trump on June 20 demanding an end to his new “zero tolerance” policy separating children from their families at the border. The missive came before the president signed an executive order later that day halting the widely criticized practice.


“Silicon Valley and much of America’s innovation economy has been built through the hard work and entrepreneurial spirit of courageous immigrants and refugees,” Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino wrote in the rebuke.

The letter noted that the group will continue to lobby Congress for immigration reform—one that would take into account the future of Dreamers and the H1-B Visa program now under a crackdown by the Trump administration.


Meanwhile, a Facebook fundraiser to help reunite the separated families has raised over $18 million from about 488,000 contributors including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, making it the largest donation drive ever been organized on the social media platform.


Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO called the stories and images being circulated “gut-wrenching” and urged the government to address immigration in a “more humane way.”


U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Oakland) for California took to Twitter to ask U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to resign for allowing these separations to occur under her watch.


She called these actions “human rights abuse” in a tweet noting that thousands of children have already been taken away from their families.


San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo agreed, calling the actions “criminal.”


Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) lamented how far the United States has strayed from its role of representing “hope” and “opportunity” to immigrants worldwide.



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The 37th annual Juneteenth festival takes place Saturday at Plaza de Cesar Chavez in downtown San Jose. Organized by the African American Community Service Agency (AACSA), the festival celebrating the abolition of slavery in the U.S. will be a day of food, culture, and live performances headlined by Grammy-award-winning R&B singer, Brandy.

The highly anticipated theme decided on for this year’s Juneteenth festival is “Celebrating Sankofa,” meaning that understanding our present and ensuring our future requires us to know our past.


“This symbol, this word, and meaning is to remind us as people to look back into our roots into which we came from,” AACSA Executive Director Milan Balinton said. “It’s about teaching and encouraging each other to reach back into our potential, resources, and knowledge as a community and what we have contributed to society.”


In the spirit of “Celebrating Sankofa,” Silicon Valley’s African and African-American culture will be highlighted through live reggae and Caribbean music performances on the main stage, a “Soul Food Row” and arts and crafts vendors.


Festival partner San Jose Jazz will also be entertaining the crowd throughout the day at their mobile boom-box stage with a lineup of bands soon to be announced.

Attendees have the opportunity to visit health screenings, a community resource tent with representatives from more than 30 community-based organizations as well as a kids and youth area packed with fun and games.


The grand opening will welcome 5,000 anticipated festival-goers with a procession of San Jose city and elected leaders.


“The festival encompasses community, education, and learning about our resources,” Balinton said. “It creates camaraderie to celebrate what our people fought for.”


The Juneteenth weekend kicked off with a pre-Juneteenth Sankofa open mic night Thursday and continues tonight with an event at Milpitas City Hall titled, “Education Before Celebration—Let America be America,” and hosted by the San Jose-Silicon Valley chapter of the NAACP. It continues with the Saturday festival and a Father’s Day celebration on Sunday at Bible Way Christian Center.

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Santa Clara County’s newly remodeled Coyote Lake Visitor Center will hold its grand opening ceremony at the end of this month at Harvey Bear Ranch Park.

The center—its walls dressed in murals depicting fresh nature and mountains—is adorned with new displays, posters, interactive boards, and realistic models to provide children with an educational experience.


The Gilroy-area center now holds a larger amount of updated information that showcases the wide variety of wildlife at the park as well as its rich history and recreational opportunities such as horseback riding, cycling, power boating, jet-skiing, and sailing.


“Before this the visitor center was outdated, and it looked old,” county Parks and Recreation Department spokeswoman Tamara Clark said. “We wanted to bring life to a public space and offer vegetational opportunities to children.”


New exhibits installed at the center which will now feature taxidermy, including those of a mountain lion, bobcat, coyote, and various species of local birds. Snakes will be slithering in display tanks alongside aquariums teeming with lake fish. Outside, the park is home to numerous species, including some rare ones like the western pond turtle, California tiger salamander, and Bay checkerspot butterfly.


“There’s a lot going on inside the space with the sounds, what they’ll see underwater, and the different animals in the park,” Clark said. “We want to embrace the opportunity to have children engage in nature.”


The lakeside getaway opened in May of last year, making it the second-largest park in the county. It encompasses two new additions to the county parks system: Harvey Bear and Mendoza ranches, which boast histories that trace back to the Gold Rush settlers, Spanish explorers, and, long before that, indigenous tribes.

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